By Jonathon Clancy
Surfing has evolved over time with thanks, in great part, to advancements in board design.
Celebrate the history of the surfboard and its shapers during the 2013 Water Brothers Surf Fest 3, an exhibit curated by surf legend Sid Abruzzi. Rhode Island’s quintessential summer surf social will converge on the courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum on Saturday, July 20, from 2 – 7 pm. A special screening of the epic surf film Searching For Tom Curren will be presented by Sid and the film’s director, Sonny Miller, at the amazing Casino Theater at 8 pm.
“We’re honored to be at the International Tennis Hall of Fame this year,” said Water Brothers Surf and Skate Shop Owner, Sid Abruzzi, who added, “We’re excited about the surfboard and shaper lineup.” Abruzzi also noted the dedicated New England surfers who make Surf Fest possible, some driving excessive hours with many surfboards in tow.
Over 250 boards ranging from Tom Blake’s 1938 Redwood Paddleboard to recent designs created by local shapers will lie over the lush green courts, a timeline of surfboard design. The final display will showcase boards from personal collections that represent early surf design, like classic 1950s longboards, shapes from the 1960s shortboard revolution, big wave guns, retro fishes, modern marvels and even hand planes for body surfing.
Generations of surfers have grown up riding the rocky reefs and beaches that characterize the southern reaches of our little state. And, who better to shape your next stick than the craftsmen who understand the area’s intricacies? Local Rhode Island shapers will be on hand to display their variations of wave riding craftsmanship and to answer questions about custom boards.
Newport’s Neil Toracinta, one of the state’s youngest shapers, will bring his highly acclaimed Tora Surfboards to the show. In a very short amount of time, Neil’s surfboards have been popping up more often than not throughout local lineups.
Providence Purveyor of the pure, Kevin Cunningham of Spirare Surfboards, will tap into the knowledge of the bees with his lightweight, all-wood honeycomb boards, along with his environmentally friendly recycled EPS foam boards. Cunningham’s clean artistic style showcases the beauty of the wood with which he wraps his creations, whereas his handmade fins display the abstract beauty of found treasure, otherwise known as marine debris. Also in the wood department, Bill Shockley of Gray Suit Productions in Charlestown will showcase his stunning sticks and fins.
Dave Levy of Levy Surf Designs wants to know, “What are you on?” Dave has been shaping, glassing and sanding boards in Narragansett for over 25 years. His trademark LSD van is a staple of South County surf culture, and Dave is always happy to share his unique take on Rhode Island design.
Surf Fest is also about community. Visit the Clean Ocean Access table where members from the group will help tune you into the local activist scene. The grassroots organization runs year-round water quality testing, adopts public access points to ensure the preservation of beautiful coastline and organizes a slew of beach cleanups each year. The Newport Woman’s Surf Club will also host a table. This all-female surf club has been promoting the lifestyle of ocean-minded women in Newport for over two years.
On site to keep your taste buds right will be food trucks from popular local eateries. Middletown’s Flat Waves will dish out their take on the Hawaiian plate lunch with fresh chicken, beef, shrimp or pulled pork served over a bed of rice. Tallulah on Thames of Newport will serve chef-inspired street food, including their famed tacos and burritos. Empire Tea and Coffee will keep the party rolling with caffeinated liquid treats and teas from across the globe, while Del’s Frozen Lemonade assists those looking to beat the heat. Beer and wine will be available at the cash bar at the La Forge Casino Restaurant.
What’s a party without tunes and prizes? Local DJs will provide music throughout the day, and be sure to buy some $1 raffle tickets for chances to win great prizes like surfboards, skateboards, wetsuits and other swag. A portion of the raffle proceeds will go toward the Water Brothers Fund, which helps those in need within the Aquidneck Island Community.
Tickets for Surf Fest 3 are only $15. Children under 12 are free. A separate ticket for the screening of Searching For Tom Curren is available for $20. Both can be purchased at Water Brothers Surf and Skate Shop at 23 Memorial Boulevard in Newport, Rhode Island (cash or check only), or by credit card at tennisfame.com/SurfFest.
Do you have an interesting board to display? E-mail Sid at firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo and description to see about a spot in the show.